Lori T Raetzman

Profile picture for Lori T Raetzman

Contact Information

535 Burrill Hall
Associate Professor, Molecular and Integrative Physiology

Research Interests

Cell-cell signaling during hypothalamic neuron development and pituitary development

Impact of endocrine disrupting chemicals during gestation on hypothalamic-pituitary development




Research Description

The hypothalamus is a critical center for homeostasis in the body and is essential for feeding, growth and reproduction, among other things. The neuroendocrine hypothalamus arises from progenitors lining the third ventricle of the brain. Obesity, infertility and dwarfism can be linked to aberrant development of these neurons. Despite the importance of this brain region to normal physiology, little is known about the factors that are necessary to get the wide variety of peptide producing neurons.

We have a focus on the Notch signaling pathway, which we hypothesize plays an important role in the proliferation and lineage specific differentiation of hypothalamic progenitor cells. We are exploring if Notch signaling is necessary and sufficient for obtaining the full complement of cells in the Arcuate Nucleus of the hypothalamus by employing transgenic and knockout mice. These studies also take advantage of molecular genetic techniques and whole animal physiology. We have an exciting collaboration with the Underhill lab that involves isolating hypothalamic stem cells and culturing them on engineered arrays so that we can test a wide variety of tethered and secreted stimuli that may influence neuron development. We are also interested in how maternal environment, including obesity or exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals can impact hypothalamic progenitors.

The overall goal of these studies is to define the normal complement of signals that stem cells use to make fate choices in the hypothalamus. This information will be useful in finding causes for congenital neuroendocrine disorders. It also may be possible to someday engineer new neurons to replace those that don’t develop correctly or those that are damaged by brain injury


B.A. Ripon College
Ph.D. Case Western Reserve University

Awards and Honors

Faculty Recognition Award, Neuroscience Student Organization

Outstanding Advisor Award, Medical Scholars Program

Additional Campus Affiliations

Molecular and Integrative Physiology

Affiliate, Neuroscience Program

Affiliate, Institute for Genomic Biology

Recent Publications

Kaylan, K. B., Berg, I. C., Biehl, M. J., Brougham-Cook, A., Jain, I., Jamil, S. M., ... Underhill, G. H. (2018). Spatial patterning of liver progenitor cell differentiation mediated by cellular contractility and Notch signaling. eLife, 7. https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.38536

Biehl, M. J., Kaylan, K. B., Thompson, R. J., Gonzalez, R. V., Weis, K. E., Underhill, G. H., & Raetzman, L. T. (2018). Cellular fate decisions in the developing female anteroventral periventricular nucleus are regulated by canonical Notch signaling. Developmental Biology, 442(1), 87-100. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ydbio.2018.06.005

Hankosky, E. R., Westbrook, S. R., Haake, R. M., Willing, J., Raetzman, L. T., Juraska, J. M., & Gulley, J. M. (2018). Age- and sex-dependent effects of methamphetamine on cognitive flexibility and 5-HT 2C receptor localization in the orbitofrontal cortex of Sprague-Dawley rats Behavioural Brain Research, 349, 16-24. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2018.04.047

Edwards, W., & Raetzman, L. T. (2018). Complex integration of intrinsic and peripheral signaling is required for pituitary gland development. Biology of Reproduction, 99(3), 504-513. https://doi.org/10.1093/biolre/ioy081

Hekman, J. P., Johnson, J. L., Edwards, W., Vladimirova, A. V., Gulevich, R. G., Ford, A. L., ... Kukekova, A. V. (2018). Anterior pituitary transcriptome suggests differences in ACTH release in tame and aggressive foxes. G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics, 8(3), 859-873. https://doi.org/10.1534/g3.117.300508

View all publications on Illinois Experts